Can North Korea copy Vietnam’s economic miracle?

When Vo Van Dai started working at Vietnam’s Van Phan Dien Chau fish sauce company in the late 1980s, the state-run firm comprised five departments overseen by 18 managers. By the time he rose up the ranks to take charge of the company after its privatisation in 2000, the Nghe An province-based firm had slashed management by two-thirds.During the same time, revenues exploded tenfold to over 20 billion dong (US$860 million) and the regular workforce more than doubled to 180 employees.“In the…

Suspected explosion near Indonesia election debate venue

Indonesian police are investigating a suspected explosion on Sunday near the venue of a presidential debate in the capital Jakarta, officials said.Police officials said a loud noise was heard and thick grey smoke was seen immediately after. But Berita Satu media group said it may have been caused by fireworks.@jakpost reporting blast was in parking lot near Sultan Hotel central Jakarta where Indonesian Presidential election debate being held. People in area ran in panic. No casualties reported…

Will Thailand’s election turmoil hit China-backed US$54 billion Eastern Economic Corridor?

Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor, a 1.7 trillion baht (US$54.2 billion) development heavily reliant on Chinese backing, should emerge unscathed by the kingdom’s pre-election political turmoil, analysts say.
Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya’s abortive prime ministerial bid last weekend had stunned investors and political observers, as it brought to the fore questions about differences in the palace – King Maha Vajiralongkorn vetoed the move – and whether the…

Explained: Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal

1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is a state investment fund that came under investigation for a multibillion-dollar global corruption scandal.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) alleges US$4.5 billion was siphoned from 1MDB between 2009 and 2014. The scandal has been described as the world’s most extensive financial con. Who are the central figures in the 1MDB scandal?
Fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, is accused of masterminding the fraud. Low and two former…

Forget the junta: does King Vajiralongkorn hold all the cards in Thai politics?

THE THAI DRAMA lasted ostensibly less than a day. But the shock waves of the February 8 political earthquake triggered by Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya’s abortive prime ministerial candidacy – vetoed by her younger brother King Maha Vajiralongkorn within hours – are still being felt as the Thai public grapples with the meaning of that moment.
The motivation behind the monarch’s edict remains opaque, as do its consequences. Some say his decision was more a rebuke than a…

Call for new UK digital ID policy

A new policy to ensure the approach to digital identities (digital IDs) is better joined up across the public and privacy sectors should be developed by the UK government, industry body techUK has said.

Singapore detains businessman who sponsored Malaysian Islamic State fighter and was planning attack on Freemasons lodge

A Singaporean man, who gave financial support to a Syria-based Islamic State (IS) militant from Malaysia, has been detained under the city state’s tough internal security laws, authorities said on Friday.
The 48-year-old businessman, Mohamed Kazali Salleh, was among seven men nabbed by Singapore and Malaysian authorities for suspected involvement in terrorism-related activities.
The arrest highlights the continued influence of Southeast Asian militants fighting with IS in Iraq and Syria…

1MDB scandal: former Goldman Sachs banker Robert Ng returning to US to face charges

Roger Ng, a former Goldman Sachs banker accused of playing a role in defrauding sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), will return to the US to face criminal charges against him, his lawyer said on Thursday.
Ng will waive extradition to the US on Friday during an appearance in a court in Malaysia, according to his lawyer Marc Agnifilo. Ng intends to plead not guilty when he appears in a US federal court, Agnifilo said.
Ng, who left Goldman Sachs in the spring of 2014, has…